Parallel Man

Parallel Man

Staff: Jeffrey Morris, Fredrick Haugen, Christopher Jones, and Dylan Hansen

Overview:

Professional with a great premise.

Review:

So Parallel Man relies on the concept of the “multiverse”- a series of infinite (or near infinite) interconnected alternate universes just next door to each other. This is a concept very much steeped in the lore of American comics as this is the universal logic employed by most major publishers to tie their stories together. The premise of this comic is original- in the vastness of the multiverse one version of America developed the ability to jump to different realities and conquer them because they destroyed their own world. I’m sold on the premise and the cover art looks gorgeous so let’s jump in and see if it delivers!

 

Art

The art is top notch. It is done in a style similar to that of most major publishers and doesn’t fail to impress. You guys know I’m something of an art snob- but this is done with a deep understanding of the medium. It’s in full color, uses dynamic angles, and it’s expressive. They have some very invocative imagery- a shattered Lincoln memorial implies a loss of freedom, Air Force One, and an alternatively colored american flag. Hey- they even got Obama in there for a bit and did a fair likeness of him.

I gotta say though, for all the high praise I am laying on this thing, when we finally get to see the universe-jumping military their appearance fails to impress. The big intro on page 9 just kind of looks like a line of very cookie cutter soldiers in generic “space soldier” style armor of the same height and build. Given the details on earlier pages, I was ready for some realistically diverse and very imaginative soldiers- not something that bland. However- that is about the only misstep in the creativity department (see the story section for more on that).

 

Lettering

The lettering makes me envious. They do more than just your standard boxes and onomatopoeia. The text is legible, the onomatopoeia is creatively applied, and non-interruptive to the beautiful art. They use a variety of balloon and font styles, when appropriate, and it just adds to the already very professional appearance of the comic. Honestly- if I didn’t know better, I would assume that this was something produced by Marvel, DC, or Image.

 

Story

There are some kind of over the top names for things like “hellfighters” and a lot of techno jargon that is meant to sound scientific, but overall the writing is a solid B+ or A-. It does its job and does its word building without giving us too bad of an exposition bomb (aided by the first page’s short introduction). The dialogue comes off as natural and does a great job handling such a weird premise.

When compared to the overall direction thus far- the worldbuilding is the shining gem. The premise works and is used to great effect. We are immersed in the world of the reality-hopping Nick Morgan and his sidekick, a computer program named Atlas.The various universes we get to see showcase the powerful imagination (both in an artistic and worldbuilding sense) that this team can bring. We see megalithic vehicles, crazy alien designs, mushroom forests, . They do rely on “science as magic” a bit heavily and kind of ham-handedly in the narrative sense (a “nanopatches fix everything” kind of setup) but I think it was done to keep the focus of the comic on the premise rather than the minor details. We get a slow-ish start with the real plot kicking in about half way through the first issue and don’t really get a full understanding of it until about 10 pages before the end. That’s not to say there is a pacing issue, more that they handle it pretty well. There is a bit of tonal shift near the end that I wasn’t so fond of, but it looks like it will set up some interesting character dynamics in later issues.

 

Overall

Overall, I dig it. It’s a solid premise with a lot of mileage in its premise. The first issue does a great job of setting up a lot of issues to come. This comic is about as professional as indies get- great art and some solid writing. I’m on-board with this one.

 

Metrics

Art: 8/10 (Downright professional)

Lettering: 8/10 (Above and beyond)

Plot: 6/10 (Solid across the board)

Novelty: 10/10 (Gotta love this premise and the way they handle it!)

Overall: 8/10

Link to Product

(They also have some other Parallel Man media like games and stuff on the site- totally worth a look.)

Orision

Orision

Staff: Bradley Golden, Ugur Sertcelik, Chris Allen

Overview:

If you like the horror genre, you’re gonna love this.

Review:

Alright so today I’ve got “Orision” from Second Sight Comics on the chopping block. The comic was split into multiple parts but I will only be reviewing part 1 today (as per my site’s guidelines). Just looking at the cover I can tell I’m in for an artistic treat so let’s get to it shall we? (As a forewarning to anyone downloading this, it’s a bit graphic and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who gets squeamish.)

Art

So the art of this comic is downright beautiful. It’s done in a stylized black and white (well… kinda grayscale) but it uses this contrast effectively. I couldn’t help but imagine that they thought about going for color but decided to stick with B&W for the sake of a cohesive aesthetic. If there is one thing that detracts from the overall quality of the art it’s some very “extreme” expressions. It can kind of be forgiven in this medium as you need to be overly expressive sometimes in place of a more subtle gesture that you could get away in a moving media (like film). Still, some were a little overly exaggerated but that’s just a nit-pick.

There is some great use a perspective (especially some dutch angles with visually directive onomatopoeia) and some of the poses we get could only be from someone with a mastery of the fundamentals of anatomy. Now this isn’t a comic drawn in the traditional american superhero style so don’t go in expecting that and there is nothing wrong with not doing that style- just be aware of it.

Lettering

The lettering sol solid, pretty standard, legible stuff. Don’t be confused- when I say that it’s high praise. I keep talking about how lettering you don’t remember for anything bad is the best kind of lettering there is. Lettering should just be intrusive enough to get your attention and not enough to be distracting. They do a solid job here. No complaints.

Story

So the story is a pretty straightforward affair. High in the snowy mountains an expedition is attacked by a [SPOILER] and the characters fight for their life. It kind of plays out like a horror movie and it’s a lot of fun to read. The visuals back it up very nicely and it is well paced. One of the shortcomings, something inherent to the horror genre in general, is that we don’t get a lot of characterization. There is only so much we can get out of screams and death but it does come up a little short in that department. The same goes for the lore and background. I mean I wasn’t expecting the first issue of a series to explain everything to me but it does come off as a little sparse in terms of what we know other than, “Oh my god a monster! Run!”. This isn’t Shakespeare but I don’t know if it needed to be.

Overall

So this comic left a good taste in my mouth overall. Yeah it was a quick monster/horror romp in the snowy mountains, but by God if it wasn’t a fun little ride! The visceral artstyle carried it and some of the panels straight up blew my mind in terms of the detail that was put into them. If you are a horror fan- this is probably something you won’t want to miss. If you are not a fan of the genre, you’ll probably be pretty “meh” on the whole thing. Give it a read!

 

Metrics

Art: 6/10 (Really solid work)

Lettering: 5/10 (No major issues)

Plot: 4/10 (Well paced but nothing breaks the mold)

Novelty: 5/10 (New art style and creative monster design)

Overall: 5/10

Link to Comic

Resistor

Resistor

Staff: Wes Allen

Overview:

A well done, but ultimately forgettable, political drama

Review:

So I got hit up about a month back to read Resistor and I’m going to give it a review today! I’m not a big fan of political dramas but this one has some pretty cool real world parallels. Anyway, let’s dive right into it!

Art

Cover is cool kind of “iPad” style color scheme. The interior art is very different than the cover but isn’t bad by any stretch. It’s certainly not “big publisher professional”, but it has it’s own charms. A lot of the scenes are well composed visually and the artistic style tends to favor a very crowded approach to composition (which works well). There is a weird stylistic thing with the way artists depict jaws in this one, but I am gonna give it a pass because it seems intentional and part of the comic’s visual style rather than an error.

Lettering

The text can be very hard to read at times. The credits page had a hard-on-the-eyes font and the first page’s “hooray” were transparent over a complex background (without a dialogue box). I guess this is the style they were going for, but it comes out very jumbled and difficult to read. Elsewhere the text is legible but is made small in some panels and larger in others. When it gets small, it gets very tricky to read and I had to blow it up a bit with a digital zoom to read it. On page 13 we have this wall-o-text that comes from a radio that could have probably have been condensed by making it more succinct. There is also this disconnect between font written in and the drawn background. Sometimes the perspective/shadow doesn’t match up because it was added after (on signs for example).

Story

One thing that bothers me is that it takes this comic 10 pages to get into the story. We are given exposition in the form of a political rally before we get to a single line a dialogue from a character. We don’t seem to have a “main story” going by half way though the comic and it does feel a bit like a comic that has a good story to tell but doesn’t give you enough of a unified perspective to allow you to identify with any particular character. I mean we get that this political party is bad and that life sucks under its rule but I don’t empathize with any of the characters. It’s such a fragmented story that I can’t seem to really pin down what it’s about on a narrative level. By the end of it there is a larger story taking place but not enough in this issue to grab me in the mean time.

Overall

Overall, it’s a nice attempt but fails to deliver on anything more than a basic level. It’s not a bad comic but it’s not one that will stand out in my mind as a highlight of the year or anything. Maybe if the narrative direction was a bit more focused or the plot point more succinct it could have made for a good first issue.

 

Metrics

Art: 4/10 (Good but not pro quality)

Lettering: 3/10 (Some good, some pretty bad)

Plot: 4/10 (A few good notes but unfocused)

Novelty: 5/10 (How many political drama comics do you see?)

Overall: 4/10

Link to Product